Guilt-Free Fare

Guilt-Free Fare

LBM_43_Happy Hour_Nirvana_2_By Jody Tiongco-47

Enjoying healthy food and drinks at happy hour might sound like an oxymoron, but that’s no longer the case in our foodie-obsessed culture. With diners now seeking fresh, healthier sustenance at all times—not to mention attempting to keep all those New Year’s resolutions to eat better—Laguna’s restaurants are successfully meeting the demand for lighter fare and libations at the end of a long work day. From organic veggie burgers and low-cal cocktails to light seafood dishes, our town’s eateries have got you covered. So, gather a group of friends or coworkers and indulge in tasty happy hours without the guilt—we’ll cheers to that.

Nutritious Nosh

Chef Lindsay Smith-Rosales of Nirvana Grille is known for her “clean” California cuisine, which utilizes local and organic ingredients; sustainable, fresh seafood; and hormone- and antibiotic-free meats and poultry to make the scrumptious dishes found on both Nirvana’s regular and happy hour menus. “At Nirvana Grille, we change our menus seasonally and, as such, the happy hour menu changes with our dinner menu,” Lindsay says. In addition to a bar menu featuring wild mushroom ravioli, an organic veggie burger and a grass-fed organic beef burger, Nirvana’s happy hour menu includes tantalizing dishes such as organic spinach and warm mushroom salad served with a balsamic-Dijon mustard vinaigrette; roasted poblano chile; pita fries and truffle hummus; and grilled Caesar salad and house-made soup, among other good eats. Best yet, Lindsay’s seasonal fare is adaptable for any gluten-free, vegan and allergy needs. (949-497-0027;

At K’ya Bistro Bar, located inside the historic La Casa del Camino hotel, patrons will find a menu loaded with satisfying, California-Mediterranean dishes served as small plates. Additionally, the restaurant has partnered with the Art of Fitness in deeming certain regular menu items healthier alternatives, including a grilled salmon fillet and an herb-grilled chicken salad, among other options. With an emphasis on fresh food using organic and local products, nutritious items such as hummus and pita, caprese skewers (Buffalo mozzarella, tomato basil and pesto dip) and Hawaiian ahi poke can be found on K’ya Bistro’s happy hour menu, while chilled edamame and grilled hummus flatbread (olive, roasted pepper, tomato and feta) are available on the “Snacks” menu. (949-376-9718; Read more…